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Author’s Note: My deepest gratitude to my editor, Janiexx for polishing and refining my story. Her contribution is invaluable and I extend my heartfelt thanks.

“Do you feel guilty?”

I looked at the attractive young woman lying next to me, her question hanging in the air between us.

“Yes…I…ah…” I was having trouble thinking clearly because a pair of beguiling green eyes held me with their intense gaze. After an extended period of self-denial, I had finally revealed my true feelings to her. It was love and there was no denying it. Putting my feelings into words after so long was a tremendous relief.

From well before my wedding day, my heart beat to the tune of a different drummer.

“Mitch will be devastated.”

At the mention of my husband her face fell. She adored him and there was no denying the heartache this would cause him.

But images of another loved one crept into the corners of my consciousness.

“Do you think about her often?” she asked, changing the flow of the conversation and effectively reading my mind.

“Yes, of course. I miss her…” Tears of sadness and loss filled my eyes.

My heart ached to see her, talk to her and bask in the glow of her presence.

“She was the dearest friend…I miss her too.” My companion’s voice reflected her melancholy.

We both stared at the ceiling in total silence. Memories of the woman in my arms and the other who had had a significant impact on my life surfaced. Gradually, I recalled the remarkable years of friendship that I shared with each of them…

A Tale of Two Friends:

The very first time I saw Meaghan, her family was moving in next door. She had a wiry build but was pretty with blonde hair. I was instantly jealous and remembered my mother telling me that we would be in the same grade. With the new school year only a week away, I was dreading meeting her because of my concern that I was overweight.

At the tender age of ten, I had the requisite blonde hair that everyone desired but loathed my heavier body and longed to be thin. My mother kept telling me that I was too young to be on a diet but trips to the mall for clothing were a virtual hell.

“You’re just full-bodied Dana,” my mother would say to try to relieve my anxiety.

In reality I was only a size or two (depending on the cut of the garment), larger than my friends but it was enough to make me self- conscious. I was usually reduced to tears by the end of the day and my dear mom would do her best to comfort me.

My two older sisters were the lucky recipients of the slim, willowy type of body that all the boys seemed to be attracted to. I was five years younger than Alexis and ten years younger than Samantha. In spite of the fact that they were always kind and considerate towards me, I felt like the black sheep of the family

Like most kids at school, I secretly yearned to be part of the popular crowd until I realized that the girls in that group were thin and pretty. I had about a zero chance of joining.

The day after Meaghan moved in, I was helping my mom in the garden when I heard someone knock on the gate. I turned around and saw who it was and my heart sank.

“Hi! I’m Meaghan,” she announced and strolled into the yard.

When Meaghan got closer, I was aware that she was even prettier than I imagined and my body image complex kicked in. I was immediately self-conscious and very shy.

“Hi,” I whispered, unable to even look at her.

Meaghan invited me to her house and at first I hesitated but my mother insisted that I go. Clothed in my ill-fitting shorts and tee-shirt, I trudged quietly behind her. In my head, I believed I resembled a little porker and as I gazed at her thin body, I was green with envy.

In her bedroom, the piles of boxes presented a major obstacle so I suggested that I help her organize her belongings. I’ve always been a neat freak and found pleasure in arranging things in a logical order. For hours we opened boxes and stored her stuff until her mother called her downstairs for dinner.

“Can you stay?” she asked.

It was atypical for me to accept an invitation to eat at my friends houses. On the very rare occasion that I did, I consumed practically nothing so as not to give the impression that I overate. Meaghan’s request seemed very sincere, almost pleading and I nodded my head.

Meghan’s mother made baked chicken and green beans. To my palate, they were scrumptious and later I learned that low calorie doesn’t have to imply no taste. Her little brother, Wyatt, really took a shine to me. At three years old, he was quite a character and asked me to change his diaper.

I relaxed during the meal and Meaghan chatted with an ease of familiarity that was disarming. Later, we returned to her room with her mom in tow and the look of astonishment on her face was worth all the hard work. The woman was speechless when she saw all the progress that we had made.

Meaghan was beaming with bursa escort pride and put her arm around my shoulder.

“Give Dana the credit, mom. She was a big help.”

The praise in her voice was evident.

I’ve never forgotten that day because it was the first time that anyone outside my family responded so approvingly towards me.

It was evening when I left and my good feelings gradually evaporated when I recognized that once school started, Meaghan, with her good looks and charisma, would settle in with the popular crowd, leaving me behind.

But, until that happened I was a regular fixture at her house. While I had awkward feelings about my body, in Meaghan’s presence they diminished. And, for once, I was more comfortable with someone my own age and felt none of the usual fear of rejection.

The first day of school was typical for me. After a cold hello from Skyler, the leader of the popular girl’s tribe, I found my seat and tried to blend in with the walls so as not to be noticed. The callous girl had been a major pain in my side since first grade.

Meaghan was seated directly to my left and underwent a trial of sorts by Skyler and her gang as the day progressed. At lunch, they peppered her with questions and were a real nuisance. But it was plain to me by the end of school that she would be included in that loathsome bunch.

On the school bus ride home, I was very quiet. It was only a matter of time before another valued friend would drift away. A close relationship with me was a definite liability to someone like Meaghan. Membership to Skyler’s nasty club would guarantee her social standing at school.

After the second week of school, I was in my room sullenly staring at the wallpaper and thinking how unfair life could be when I heard a quiet knock on my door.

“Hey Dana, you in there?” I heard Meaghan’s voice through the closed door.

Slowly, I got off the bed and opened it a crack.

“Aren’t ya gonna let me in?” she asked. Her smiling face was comforting and I opened the door.

We were sitting on the end of my bed and I’m sure I had a hangdog expression on my face. Then I remembered that I had asked Meaghan for help with the math homework assignment. From watching and listening to her in class, I knew she was a whiz in just about every subject.

Even though my fears about losing her friendship occupied my mind, it seemed to me that we were good friends. To my surprise, Meaghan was spending a lot of time with me and while she was friendly towards Skyler, she ate lunch with me and in general, we hung out together.

While I regarded this as dangerous behavior on her part, Meaghan appeared to be unaffected by the social divisions at school. By now, she had to be aware of who the haves and have-nots were.

“What’s bugging ya?” she asked.

“Nothin’ really,” I answered, but it was obvious by the look on Meaghan’s face that she knew I wasn’t being honest with her.

No amount of prodding by Meaghan was successful in getting me to open up and we tackled the math problems.

Life at school continued in pretty much the same vein. While I was open and talkative when I was alone with Meaghan, in mixed company I was shy and reserved. We often did our homework together after school and spent most every weekend in each other’s company. There were trips to the mall, the movies and a definite kindred spirit developed between us.

My first, true friend was a dynamic, warm, sweet and caring person who liked me for who I was. Slowly, I started to emerge from my shell and Meaghan was the one who saw my potential.

“Ya know Dana, there’s a terrific person inside of ya just waitin’ to get out,” she would tell me sometimes.

By the time Christmas vacation rolled around, I regarded Meaghan as my best friend. She belonged to a gymnastics club and invited me to a session. To my amazement, I enjoyed it but the trepidation about my body was overwhelming and I declined to join.

Meaghan was puzzled by my reaction and the next day confronted me. By this time, she knew the real me and while we never discussed my “weight problem”, it was always just under the surface of my mind.

“Give me one good reason why you won’t join?” Her tone was firm, yet friendly.

Unable to keep the horrible feelings I had about my body inside, I blurted out the truth.

“Look at me, I’m fat and…disgusting.”

Meaghan started to laugh, making me feel worse. Warm tears ran down my cheeks but suddenly she took me in her arms and held me close.

“Don’t cry…I’m only laughin’ ’cause you sound ridiculous. Fat? You’re far from fat! Several pounds overweight maybe, but not fat!”

Despite our growing friendship, I couldn’t shake the feeling that at some point in the very near future, it would end. Meaghan was blonde, slim and pretty and why she liked me was hard for me to understand. I lacked self confidence and it was readily apparent to anyone that knew me.

“But bursa escort bayan won’t the other girls make fun of me?” I asked.

“No! Why would they?” The baffled look on her face revealed to me just how far off base I was.

Meaghan told me that I would start in the beginners’ class and most of the girls would be two or more years younger than me, but everyone had a genuine sense of camaraderie. In the end, it was her earnest and sincere attitude that made the difference in my decision and reluctantly, I agreed to become a member.

Twice a week, I attended practices and during the breaks I would watch Meaghan with awe as she performed her routine. Most of the other girls’ at the club appeared to be more muscular and bulky, but not Meaghan. With her delicate hands gripping the bar, she possessed an astonishing muscular control that contrasted with her slim body. Her floor exercise in particular, displayed a powerful style that belied her skinny frame.

Although I wasn’t competing, I attended the meets that were held with other clubs in the area. Meaghan was impressive and always among the top group of ten year olds in the competition. As her friend I was thrilled for her and experienced some jealousy but if anything, I wanted to be more like her and it inspired me to try harder.

It drew us closer together and my days at school became much more fulfilling when I finally came to grips with the realization that Meaghan and I were friends and nothing was going to interfere with that reality.

By the advent of middle school, I was less shy and more outgoing. I had shed a few pounds via the gymnastics workout and the confidence it gave me carried over into my everyday life. I was no longer a wannabe popular girl hoping for inclusion to Skyler’s little circle and I generally ignored them.

Meaghan possessed the intangible skill of maintaining acquaintances on both sides of the caste dividing line. In fifth grade, she assumed the leadership position in our class because she was easily the most gifted person and was friendly towards everyone to the exclusion of no one. This made her very popular and I believe that’s why she was able to straddle the social fence.

At the end of fifth grade, Meaghan was presented with the award for outstanding academic achievement and I was overjoyed for her. She earned it fairly but there were rumblings of dissension from Skyler.

Despite her bitchy, hard boiled exterior, Skyler was an exceptional student and earned high marks in all her subjects. Her father was a well known businessman in our community with a very high social status and somehow she considered that as part of her birthright.

Skyler was arguably the prettiest girl in our class with long brunette hair and a slim but very athletic body. She excelled in sports, especially soccer. You could say she had the world in the palm of her hand but outside her tight group of friends, her superior than thou attitude was a definite liability.

But, it was in the last few months of fifth grade that Skyler seemed to drift away from the elitist group that she had created. She appeared to be hanging around the edges and generally avoided any unpleasantness with her fellow classmates. I, for one, as well as many others, was astounded by her behavior.

Our families were members at the same swim club and it was inevitable that we would run into each other during summer break. I was just a pound or two above normal and my new one piece fit me fairly well. At least I wasn’t crying when I looked at my reflection in the mirror. However, I still lacked the confidence to wear a two piece and a bikini terrified me beyond words.

One very warm afternoon, I was ordering a Diet Coke at the refreshment stand and never noticed Skyler sitting in a booth. The kid behind the counter handed me my soda and as I turned to leave, I spotted her.

“Hey,” I said and waved half-heartedly in her direction. She was looking straight at me with a curious expression.

“Hey, come sit with me,” she invited.

Skyler was eating French fries and offered me some which I promptly declined. At the age of twelve, I ate fried foods sparingly in my quest to acquire a nicer looking body.

“You look thinner,” she stated.

“Thanks,” I blushed.

From the way Skyler uttered the words it sounded like a cavalier compliment. But, just the fact that I was sitting with her was flattering to my ego. We sat mostly in silence until she finished her fries.

“I’m outta here, see ya around,” she declared.

On her way out Skyler stopped to buy a soft drink and I found it impossible not to gawk at her. She was wearing a hot pink bikini and her hard, athletic body was something to see. My gaze shifted to her chest and two golf ball size swellings were pushing mightily against the thin fabric of her bikini top. One thing was certain: she was going to be a real hottie.

After Skyler paid for her drink, bursa merkez escort she smiled at me before she left. I was floored.

What’s gotten into her? Why is she being friendly? But the answers to my question were elusive.

For the remainder of the afternoon, I would inadvertently look in Skyler’s direction hoping to catch a glimpse of her. Why was I fascinated with her? Did her kindness toward me have anything to do with it?

That night, I lay in bed staring at the ceiling and I kept rehashing the events of the afternoon in my mind. Gradually, a kind of restless calm settled over me until I reached the state of consciousness that exists between wakefulness and sleep.

In my mind, I saw Skyler’s body encased in that pink bikini and then it flashed to the sight of her developing chest. I was enthralled and dwelled on those images for what seemed to be a long time until I fell sound asleep.

The first thing I awoke to the following morning was the image of Skyler’s hard bod in my head. I found my thoughts strangely appealing and discovered that my body had a light tingle. For the first time I was experiencing mild sexual feelings but at that young age, I was completely unaware.

As summer progressed, Skyler and I entered into a pleasant but uneasy friendship. I took the chance to ogle her body at every opportunity without her noticing me.

When Middle School started in September, Meaghan, Skyler and I were in the same homeroom. I had mixed emotions about it because I was sure that Skyler would revert to her old behavior. Boy, did she prove me wrong.

During the school year, my friendship with Meaghan was stronger than ever but little by little Skyler became part of our circle.

I wasn’t shocked because the change was gradual but in some indeterminate way, we had all matured. Maybe it was part of growing up and leaving childhood behind as we entered adolescence.

With the end of the school year only two weeks away, I was in Skyler’s bedroom studying for an English exam. I liked her very much as a friend and I was sure that she felt the same about me. During a study break, my curiosity about her “change of heart” got the better of me and I asked her about it.

“I dunno…all they wanted to talk about were clothes, going to the mall, makeup, boys and…I just…it was so goddamn boring! I mean Kelly and Claire are so stupid they don’t have one good brain between them!” she declared with a disgusted look.

I burst out laughing because her observation about Kelly and Claire was right on the money. Skyler looked very pensive.

“My mom and dad were gettin’ divorced and I guess it made me think about…you know, life stuff…that kinda shit. I went from seein’ my dad every day to every other weekend…I just hated it…” she stated, tears filling her eyes. I hugged her tightly.

“Don’t you go feeling sorry for me because I…” she said but the tears and wobbly voice told me otherwise.

“Ya know girl, you can be tough as nails but underneath…a soft heart…” I stated.

At that moment, Meaghan entered the room and the entire atmosphere changed. With broad smiles we greeted our friend and chatted amiably. That was Meaghan’s gift; she could light up a room just by her presence.


With gymnastics a major part of my extra curricular activity and the onset of puberty, my body started to develop in very positive ways. The curves and breasts that every girl desires were slow in coming but eventually arrived and thankfully, I slimmed down at the same time.

The summer after eighth grade, I bought my first bikini with Skyler and Meaghan along for support. I finally had enough confidence in my appearance to make the necessary leap. I was in the bathroom appraising my daring acquisition when my sister Alexis stood in the doorway and let out a loud wolf whistle.

“Jesus sis, what happened to you? You’re looking pretty hot!” she declared and I turned every shade of red in the color spectrum.

Because of my improved body, I needed a completely new wardrobe and it was an exciting change to wear clothes that I liked. There were no tears at the end of the shopping excursion and with Skyler’s expert help I bought some stylish outfits.

The girl knew how to shop with a skill that amazed me. Skyler was a clothes horse but she refused to pay full price.

Because of our friendship, I managed to keep my fascination with Skyler in check. However, Meaghan had acquired a smokin’ hot bod of her own and she captivated me, too.

For much of that year, group dates were a big part of Friday and occasionally Saturday nights too. Skyler and Meaghan entranced most of the boys. Shockingly, I had a few admirers but nothing on the level of my two friends.

While I considered both pretty, the only physical similarity they had in common was a slender, athletic body.

Skyler had long, dark brunette hair, a shimmering olive complexion, a Roman nose, beautiful eyes and a smoky sexuality that drew the boys to her like a magnet.

Meaghan could best be described as the All American Girl. Lustrous, wavy blonde hair, a creamy pale complexion, cute upturned nose, sparkling eyes, and a winning personality that attracted the boys like bees to honey.

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